Product of the month: KBA Rapida 106

The Indo Polygraph team in India has been ramping up presence in the 28x40-inch package print market with the Rapida 106 press, which has proved ideal for the market. Rushikesh Aravkar feels the press may relish the world make-ready championship.

04 Jul 2016 | By Rushikesh Aravkar

When Pragati Offset felt the need to add a new UV press, the Paruchuris didn’t baulk about making a switch from the Japanese offset presses that they have been using and adopt the German technology offered by KBA. “The choice was simple,” explains Harsha Paruchuri of Pragati, “Most of the companies across the world that we visited deploy a KBA press for UV printing. We wanted to try and see for ourselves what we missed.”

This edge in the package printing segment that KBA enjoys has to do with its in-house capability of manufacturing UV curing system, stresses Aditya Surana of Indo Polygraph Machinery (IPM), which represents KBA in India.

It’s not only Pragati, even packaging bigwigs like ITC, Parksons Packaging, TCPL, Sai Packaging and York Print have recognised the benefits of advanced automation and opted for a KBA press. While Pragati’s is a Rapida 105, others have Rapida 106, which can handle a slightly larger format of 740×1060mm (29.13x41.73-inch), has a maximum output of 18,000sph, and has higher degrees of automation.

Today, there are 11 Rapida 106 machines running in India and three more are en route. “None of these presses are of less than six-colour plus coater configuration. And all but one are combi presses suitable for both UV and conventional inks,” adds Surana. The star: the KBA Rapida 106 eight colour press at Parksons’ Pantnagar plant with coldfoil technology.

The Rapida 106 handles substrates from lightweight paper to heavy board; and from plastic films to corrugated packaging. It also offers finishing in gloss or matt effects; all-over or spot finishes; single and multiple coating applications with dispersion; and/or UV varnishes. KBA has raised its speed to 20,000 sph for straight printing.

The makeready champion
When KBA introduced Rapida 106 at Drupa 2008, it was crowned the world makeready champion in medium format. At the show, the 41-inch press printed a total of 15 jobs, each of 520 good sheets, in just 59 minutes and 36 seconds.
Surana recalls, “The production run entailed 14 complete makereadies. Press operators changed all eight plates 14 times, washing the blankets and changing the feeder and delivery piles. Each of the 15 jobs took less than four minutes for makeready and printing.”

Surana points out, a print company in India needs a higher amount of sheets on pallets in a day with faster makereadies and UV curing at a higher speed.

“With the fully automatic plate changing system, all plates are changed in just under three minutes – including register zeroing – irrespective of the length of the press. This press is configured in such a way that the users are running it at full speeds. Even the UV jobs are run at 16,000 sph.”

Platform concept
After KBA adopted the platform concept of product development – a thing that is widespread in the automobile industry – the Rapida 106 was re-launched at Drupa 2012. With the new technique, KBA uses a single platform for its three models in 70x105cm format: Rapida 106, Rapida 105 Pro and Rapida 105.

“All the three presses have identical printing units so that there is no print quality difference across the range. The printing units, the transfer system, the inking unit, the dampening system are all identical. The differentiators are speed, configuration of the feeder and the delivery, and levels of automation.”

Surana says, “The new Rapida 106 (launched in 2012) was beefed up with design optimisation 1,2nin the infeed and delivery, additional software packages and a host of user-oriented details that came standard with the press.”

Designed to enable time-saving job changeovers, KBA’s automation modules include its DriveTronic concept, which includes DriveTronic SIS, the sidelay-free infeed; DriveTronic SPC, for simultaneous plate changing; and DriveTronic Plate Ident, for register pre-setting and plate identification.

The kit USP is its DriveTronic SIS (Sensoric Infeed System), which comes standard on the press. Surana says, “There is no sidelay in the press. The patented KBA sheet infeed system controls lateral sheet alignment electronically.”

Using what KBA calls integration into automatic format setting, it eliminates the need for operator intervention, it has electronic drive elements for precise positioning of the sheet, even at maximum speed and pile side edge alignment via the SIS sensor.

Inking and dampening units
Surana highlights the fast-reacting inking units on the Rapida 106, which offer precise ink metering and an optimum ink-water balance, adding that the bleed-free metering in the ColorTronic ink duct guarantees maximum repeat accuracy.

“The ink keys, with carbide blades and ceramic-coated ink duct roller, are remote controlled and the wear-free ink metering ensures accurately reproducible settings.
The ink duct roller speed is compensated to the press speed.”

Surana adds that further solutions, such as ink train separation with impression-off and the disengaging of units not required for a particular job, serve to reduce roller wear, accelerate makeready and eliminate avoidable waste.

Five washing system variants cater to the different needs of individual users. The simplest configuration incorporates blanket and roller washing. Alternatively, dual-purpose systems for blanket and impression cylinder washing (CleanTronic /CleanTronic Impact) can be combined with roller washing.

“With these systems, it is for the first time possible to realise parallel roller and blanket washing in this press class, and thus a time saving of over 40% compared to consecutive processes,” adds Surana.

Repeat orders testify for IPM’s service support
A few years ago, three of India’s largest packaging printers, ITC, Parksons and TCPL invested in a KBA and as Surana says, it got “a backdoor entry” at all the three places since all the three were either using Heidelberg or Manroland machines for their packaging production.

Surana says, “The KBA technology has proved netitself and continues to do so even today and that’s the reason why all of them have continued to invest in more KBA presses. The latest order is from ITC for its third KBA which we have received just a few days ago.”

Today, Parksons Packaging has seven KBA presses of which three are Rapida 106, while TCPL has four Rapida 106 machines.

The credit of these repeat orders also rests with IPM’s 36-strong service engineers team, which has been trained in Germany. IPM maintains spare part inventory and is equipped to provide prompt service even in the remote areas. “Quick action and reduced bureaucracy is the mantra,” says Surana.

“The target is to sell as many presses as possible,” Surana says, “As Indian packaging players with deep pockets realise the need for higher degrees of automation, KBA will have many more Rapida 106 presses running in India. We have observed strong levels of interest in the Rapida 106 and we are in serious negotiations with a number of companies."

During Drupa 2016, the Rapida 106 will be displayed as a long perfector for four back-four printing with coater, double delivery extension, plate change and LED-UV curing.

The Rapida 106 at Drupa is extensively automated. Its features include new TouchTronic operation with one button job change and QualiTronic PDF before and after perfecting.

KBA were present at Hall 16,C47-1,2.

Max sheet size: 740x1,060mm

Min sheet size: 340x480mm (straight), 400x480mm (perfecting)

Max speed straight press: Up to nine printing units + coater or 10 printing units: 18,000sph. With high-speed package (option): 20,000sph

Stock thickness: 0.04-0.7mm (up to 1.2mm or 1.6mm with board/corrugated package)

Contact: Aditya Surana Indo Polygraph Machinery


The alternatives

Heidelberg XL 106

Heidelberg claims that the Speedmaster XL 106 offers users the highest productivity potential and configuration flexibility of any offset press available worldwide.

Standard features such as the Preset Plus feeder and Preset Plus delivery are designed to boost productivity with a production speed of 18,000 sheets per hour in both straight printing and perfecting models. This allows for efficient output of longer runs, and automation features such as Autoplate Pro and Prinect Inpress control help users to reduce makeready times on the press.

Max sheet size: 750x 1,060 mm

Paper thickness: 0.03-1.00 mm (straight presses)

Max speed: 18,000 sph (standard straight printing presses)

Heidelberg India
Peter Rego
+91 44 4347 2000